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UN court tells US to ease Iran sanctions

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday ordered the US to ease sanctions it re-imposed on Iran after pulling out the 2015 nuclear deal.

Siding with Tehran, the ICJ said exports of “humanitarian” goods, such as food and medicines, should be allowed, the BBC reported.

US President Donald Trump moved to restore tough sanctions on Iran in May after announcing he was abandoning Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

He said the deal had “failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb” and did not deal with Tehran’s “malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism”.

Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the court.

The deal was originally signed between Iran and China, France, Russia, the UK, the US plus Germany and the European Union, which aimed to halt the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons programme in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions.

Announcing the decision on Wednesday, the ICJ’s President Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said: “The court considers that the US must remove, by means of its choosing, any impediment (…) to the free exportation to the territory of Iran of goods required for humanitarian needs.”

Washington was ordered to remove sanctions that would affect Iran’s civilian population, namely the ones restricting medicine and medical devices, food products and spare mechanical parts vital for infrastructure, such as spare parts for aviation maintenance.

However, the US argued that the court had no jurisdiction in the case as it concerned its national security.

The rulings of the ICJ, the main judicial organ of the UN, are binding but the court has no power to enforce them. It settles legal disputes between member states. But both Washington and Tehran have in the past ignored the court’s rulings.

Iran’s economy has slumped since Trump ordered that sanctions be reinstated. Its currency, the rial, has dropped sharply.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran’s adherence to the nuclear pact, had found that Tehran fully complied with the agreement.

The court’s decision could encourage European companies, which ceased trading with Iran for fear of falling foul of Trump, to reconsider their position, specifically those dealing in the humanitarian items outlined by the judges, the report said.

Tehran said the sanctions violated the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between Iran and the US, which grants the ICJ jurisdiction over disputes.

World

French government urges Russia to immediately release Navalny

He also informed Putin that France’s own analysis had confirmed Germany’s conclusion that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok “in contravention of international norms on using chemical weapons”.

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to urgently shed light on the “attempted murder” of opposition figure Alexei Navalny after French tests confirmed the use of the Novichok nerve agent, the Elysée said.

Macron told Putin in telephone talks that it is “imperative that all light be shed, without delay, on the circumstances of this attempted murder and who is responsible”, the French presidency said in a statement.

Read: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained after landing in Moscow

He also informed Putin that France’s own analysis had confirmed Germany’s conclusion that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok “in contravention of international norms on using chemical weapons”.

Putin, for his part, told Macron that it was “inappropriate” to make groundless accusations against Russia over the suspected poisoning of Navalny, the Kremlin said.

The Russian leader said his country wanted Germany to hand over medical test results taken from Navalny, according to a Kremlin readout of the call.

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained after landing in Moscow

Russian prison service said he was detained for multiple violations of parole and terms of a suspended prison sentence.

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Alexei Navalny

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport after returning from Germany on Sunday, the prison service said.

The prison service said he was detained for multiple violations of parole and terms of a suspended prison sentence and would be held in custody until a court makes a decision in his case.

Mr. Navalny, who is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and determined foe, had spent the previous five months in Germany recovering from a nerve agent attack that he blamed on the Kremlin.

Mr. Navalny decided to leave Berlin of his own free will and wasn’t under any apparent pressure to leave from Germany.

The prison service made the announcement after the flight carrying Mr. Navalny landed in the Russian capital, though at a different airport than had been scheduled. It was a possible attempt to outwit journalists and supporters who wanted to witness Mr. Navalny’s return.

The prison service last week issued a warrant for his arrest, saying he had violated the terms of suspended sentence he received on a 2014 conviction for embezzlement. The prison service has asked a Moscow court to turn Mr. Navalny’s 3 1/2-year suspended sentence into a real one.

After boarding the Moscow flight in Berlin on Sunday, Mr. Navalny said of the prospect of arrest: “It’s impossible; I’m an innocent man.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied a role in the opposition leader’s poisoning.

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Health

13 Israelis suffer facial paralysis post inoculation

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

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Jerusalem, Jan 17 : At least 13 Israelis suffered mild facial paralysis as a side effect after receiving the first Covid vaccine jabs, the Health Ministry said, adding that the count could be higher.

The officials have raised questions on whether or not to administer the second dose to these individuals the Health Ministry had recommended for the second dose, reported the Jerusalem Post.

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

“I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

As for receiving the second dose, he admits he is undecided, but says that “it is important to note that this is something rare, and I don’t want people to avoid getting vaccinated – it’s important”.

“I recently came across, for example, someone vaccinated who was dealing with paralysis, and decided not to give her a second dose,” Galia Rahav, Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Centre told Ynet.

“It is true that it can be given according to the Health Ministry, but I did not feel comfortable with it.”

She added that, “No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose.”

However, the Health Ministry has assured of the second dose only when the paralysis passes, Ynet reported.

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